New call for responsible rodent control

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New data from the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) on rodenticide residue levels have prompted Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use chairman Dr Alan Buckle to urge farmers, game-keepers and rural pest controllers to renew their efforts in the proper use of rodent control products by following rigorously the seven-point CRRU code.

The latest PBMS report, published this week, shows that more birds carryrodenticide residues than previously thought.

Dr Alan Buckle explains: “This is because new and much more sensitive methods of analysis are now beingused. For example, about 40% of barn owls were found tocarry rodenticide residues by the previous method. We now know the true figureis closer to 80%. This new information does not necessarily increase our concernbecause we have always been concerned and because the higher number of birdsfound to be contaminated is mainly because much lower residues can now bedetected. However, the new figures show that a very high proportion of some ofour important birds of prey are exposed to rodenticides.”

In practice, wildlife exposure to rodenticides is largely unnecessary if simplerules are followed. Moreover, the timing of the new PBMS data is particularlysensitive because currently the future availability of modern rodenticides isbeing considered by the European Parliament under its Biocidal ProductsRegulation.

When the new regulation is in force, Dr Buckle suggests that it could have a significant impact on the availability and use of rodenticide products.


Alan Buckle CRRU chairman Dr Alan Buckle 

“If wewant to avoid having unworkable restrictions imposed on us by the EU, we have toget a grip on the situation ourselves,” says Dr Buckle. “Farmers, game-keepersand rural pest controllers share a major responsibility to use rodenticidesresponsibly and effectively, with no exceptions and no excuses. If this does nothappen, we will find ourselves heavily restricted in what we can do, possibly tothe detriment of effective rodent control.”

The PBMS, run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) at Lancastermeasures residues of chemicals, including anticoagulant rodenticides, in a rangeof iconic species such as the barn owl, red kite and kestrel. The scheme isco-funded by CRRU, CEH, the Environment Agency and Natural England.

For a copy of the PBMS report click here and here to view the CRRU seven-point code for responsible and effective rodent control.

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